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Support the Federal Restoration of the Chinook Indian Nation

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I am asking today that you support the Chinook Indian Nation?s effort in restoring their Federal Recognition status.

Since time immemorial, the Chinook People have inhabited what is now SW Washington and NW Oregon. Chinook words (Tyee, Ilahee, Skookum) and history permeate our Nation?s story and geography. In 1805, the Chinook People sheltered Lewis and Clark after finding them on the shores of the Columbia River in Washington State. Randal MacDonald - a Chinook - was the first American to teach English in Japan. The salmon, helicopter and even the winds are named after these great people, yet the Chinook Indian Nation remains unrecognized by the U.S. Government.

The U.S. signed the Dart (1851) and the Stevens (1855) Treaties with the Chinook Indians, but Congress did not ratify either treaty. The only basis for termination of Federal Recognition was the naming of four tribes in the Chinook Indian Nation in the Western Oregon Termination Act of 1954, an act created to assimilate Indians into the White culture. After years of petitioning, the BIA reinstated the Chinook Indian Nation in 2001. Six months later, under a new administration, the BIA revoked the Nation?s because another tribe protested. The U.S. Government did not give the Chinooks a chance to appeal the reversal.

The Chinook People lost their historic lands on the Columbia River and Willapa Bay as great number of their ancestors succumbed to poverty and disease in the 19th century. Despite this and the decades of neglect by the U.S., the Chinook people have survived and maintained their community, culture and language - Chinook Wawa.

There are six criteria for restoration of a tribe by the Congress, which include:
1. Ongoing, identifiable community of Indians who are members or descendants of the Tribe;
2. Located in the vicinity of the former reservation;
3. Performing self-governing functions through elected representatives or general membership meetings;
4. Current use of aboriginal language, customs and culture;
5. Marked deterioration in socioeconomic conditions of members since termination; and
6. Socioeconomic conditions of members are more severe than in adjacent rural areas or other comparable areas within the State.

The Chinook Indian Nation meets all six of these requirements.

To assist the Chinook Indian Nation, I am asking you to request a copy of the letter concerning the history of the Chinook Indian Nation written by Mr. Stanley Speaks, Regional Director of the BIA's office in Portland, Oregon. Per policy, the Chinook Indian Nation cannot directly ask for the letter from the BIA, but your office can. This letter from Director Speaks contains a historical account of the Chinook Indian Nation?s conversations with the U.S. Government. Starting before termination, it contains all of the interaction between the BIA and the Chinook Indian Nation. This is vital in validating the Nation's request for restoration.

Thank you for your assistance.

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Public Comments (1,437)
Mar 31st, 2017
Jesse V. from Edison, NJ writes:
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This long drawn-out epidemic of ridiculousness is without a doubt, one of the most ugliest advances of human kind behavior. The Chinook people have been duped by not only the US government, but people of all walks since 1792. The Chinookan are people that have helped guide travelers like Lewis and Clark in 1804-1805, as well as the French Canadians since 1792. They were split apart throughout the years due to invading outsiders and the diseases they brought. A great injustice has been committed for way to long, and I ask the US congress to please make right to which should have been done over a hundred years ago.
Feb 9th, 2017
John E. from Portland, OR writes:
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I support the rights of the Chinook tribal members to be federally recognized. It is a fluke that they have not enjoyed recognition after all these years. Considering that they historically signed treaties with the United States, that were never recognized, it is not their fault that there is a "gap" in the history of the tribe as defined by continuous activity. My mother was 1/4 Chinook, and enrolled, and as I discover more of my ancestry, it is sad indeed that she, and all of the other members of the tribe cannot even gain federal recognition or attempt to define their own lands that are so important in defining their history and culture.
Dec 15th, 2016
Someone from Springfield, MO signed.
Oct 26th, 2016
Marilee B. from Allyn, WA writes:
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President Obama please recognize the Chinook Nation. This is vital. There are six criteria for restoration of a tribe by the Congress, which include: 1. Ongoing, identifiable community of Indians who are members or descendants of the Tribe; 2. Located in the vicinity of the former reservation; 3. Performing self-governing functions through elected representatives or general membership meetings; 4. Current use of aboriginal language, customs and culture; 5. Marked deterioration in socioeconomic conditions of members since termination; and 6. Socioeconomic conditions of members are more severe than in adjacent rural areas or other comparable areas within the State. The Chinook Indian Nation meets all six of these requirements. A dear friend of mine, now deceased, did not live to see her nation recognized. They had it in 2001 and then, mainly due to politics, it was revoked. Please reinstatement their standing!
Aug 17th, 2016
Someone from Vancouver, WA signed.
Aug 11th, 2016
Someone from Aberdeen, WA signed.
Aug 10th, 2016
Someone from Portland, OR signed.
Aug 1st, 2016
Someone from Happy Valley, OR signed.
Jul 29th, 2016
Someone from Olympia, WA signed.
Jul 27th, 2016
Someone from Portland, OR signed.
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